Romans #21 – Predestination Problems: Unloving?

In this sermon from Romans 9:30-10:13, Pastor Mark addresses the question of who chooses our salvation and whether or not predestination is loving.

Predestination Problems: Unloving? (Romans 9:30-10:13)

XN testimony vs biography. My testimony. Why now?

OT – plan, purpose, choose                                       NT – predestine, elect, choose, appointed


Who Chooses Our Salvation?

Option 1. Satan Romans 8:38-39 neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Option 2. Us Romans 3:10-12 “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Option 3. God Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

The Order of Salvation

1. Foreknew – God knew all of history in advance including His plan for you.

2. Predestined – destiny pre-determined

4. Called – 1. External                         2. Internal (effectual)               = Lazarus

5. Justified – declares legally righteous by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

6. Glorified – God sees perfect you

= Paul anticipates 5 questions about Predestination (Romans 9-10)

Question #4: Does predestination make God unloving (Romans 9:30-31)?

Romans 9:30-33 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Righteousness. 33X Romans, 8X 9:30-10:6

1.    If work needs to be done for our salvation, it is loving for God to do all the work

  • Why should God let you into Heaven? (most answers are works)

2.    If all people are unrighteous, it is loving for God to make some people righteous

3.    If no one earns salvation, it is loving for God to gift it to some people as a free gift

4.    If everyone trips over Jesus, it is loving that God picks some people up

  • Christ & Christianity are your stumbling stone or cornerstone (SHOUT OUTS)

5.    If everyone acts shamefully, it is loving that God does not put everyone to shame

6.    If all people unrighteous, it is loving of God to declare some people righteous

Gentiles – PEOPLE don’t think they need to be saved or can’t be saved? = don’t try & fail

Jews – PEOPLE think they can save themselves by works/traditions          = do try & fail

Job: 1 person does not even show up for work. 1 person shows up and completely fails

God’s Predestination Is Loving

Marriage analogy (Romans 7:1-6)

Adoption analogy (Romans 8:14-17)

Kingdom/Zion analogy (Romans 11:26-27)

Eph. 1:4-5 he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…In love he predestined us

  • God has common love for all people, and special love for His people

God Saves and Softens People 

Romans 10:2-5 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.

= Before being saved, Paul was neither saved nor soft

1. Being chosen should make us more passionate for lost people – “heart’s desire”

  • We can serve and speak, only God can save
  • Paul’s testimony – God saved him, he is active in ministry

2. Being chosen should make us pray for lost people – “my…prayer”

3. Being chosen should make us more zealous than people who are misguided – “zeal”

4. Being chosen should make us more compassionate for lost people – “ignorant”

  • The only difference between XN & non- God’s grace (not holier or better)
  • God chooses a lot of people no one else does (poor, broken, failed)

3. Being chosen should keep us from salvation by manipulation – “according to knowledge”

  • our works for others

4. Being chosen should make us aware of the visible vs invisible church – “their own…[vs] God’s righteousness”

  • There’s always hope for the living (unborn, unable, unreached, uninterested?)

5. Being chosen should keep us from religious legalism – “the law”

  • You earn it & you keep earning it

6. Being chosen should cause us to see Christ as the goal for everything – “Christ is the end”


  1. God rejects those who have rejected Him
  2. We love God because He has loved us


2 Kinds of Righteousness

Romans 10:6-13 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  • The God of the OT & NT is the same
  • The way God saves in the OT & NT is the same

2 Kinds of Righteousness

1. Ours – who we are & what we do – religious, political, moral, justice, cause “works”

·         ascend – we’re good people getting better & go up toward God (enlightenment, evolution)

·         descend – we pull God down to bless us (paganism)

2. Gods – who Jesus is & what Jesus does – holiness, obedience, righteousness, substitution

  1. Heart – for God
  2. Mouth – you & others (speaking of & singing to)

It’s not complicated to be saved, but it’s also not easy

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Mark Driscoll

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